Chicken Parmesan, Birdeye

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I just love Chicken Parmesan...
The cookbook

The easy sauce you have in your pantry...

My half chicken breast with sauce and Asparagus

COCO with BFF Tess Boone (who's been in CoCo's classes off and on since Kindergarten
having fun with Biscuit and our new foster dog Trixie (or puglet)
Friday, February 4, 2011

I just love this recipe from my favorite Italian cookbook, Italian American Cooking by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich.  It's super easy to make and is ready in under 30 minutes which I love.  Time is an important part of my life...evenings are spent reading, doing math practice, social studies and Chloe has a science project due next week about one of our ecosystems, wow!  Chloe's having her best year yet and I attribute it all to her teacher Erica Bentley.  I hope all my friends' kids get her for 4th grade, she's the BEST!  My fourth grade year was such a bore compared to today but it was when my bff Wendy and I met.  Mrs. Kennamer was a great teacher at Britton Elementary in Oklahoma City.  Good memories!

Ok, I've of course modified this recipe to cut some of the fat and step up the seasoning. You'll love this recipe and you probably have the ingredients on hand or use a substitution.

Chicken Parmesana, New-Style

"This is a more contemporary version of one of the standbys of Italian-American cooking.  Instead of coating a thin, breaded and fried chicken cutlets with tomato sauce, I like to top a chicken thigh with sliced fresh tomatoes and slices of fresh mozzarella or Fontina cheese.  A lite sauce made with fresh tomatoes and basil finishes the plate.  Fontina is a mellow, lightly aged cow's milk cheese that melts beautifully.  Take the time to search out Italian Fontina, you'll appreciate the creamy difference.  You can prepare this dish using veal or pork."

4 boneless, skinless thighs or breast halves (I always use only 2 organic, skinless breasts)
All- purpose flour
3/4 C. seasoned breadcrumbs
(I add: 3/4 C. Parmesan)
2 large eggs
1 C. vegetable oil, I use grapeseed
3 ripe plum tomatoes, I didn't have in season tomatoes
6 ounces fresh mozzarella or fontina cheese, I use grated part-skim mozzarella

(I'm adding this:  Cook angel hair pasta according to package directions, set aside)

For the sauce:
1/4 c. olive oil
6 gloves garlic, peeled
8 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, I used 28 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 c. fresh basil, I used 2 T. dried basil

Using boneless chicken breasts, cover with plastic wrap and pound lightly with the smooth side of a meat mallet to an even thinness.  Don't over pound the chicken or they will shred and be difficult to bread and cook.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spread the flour and breadcrumbs/Parmesan on separate plates.  Beat the eggs in a wide dish until blended.  Dredge the chicken in flour to coat lightly and tap off excess flour.  Dip the thighs in the egg, letting the excess egg drip back into the bow.  Transfer the chicken, one piece at a time, turn to coat in bread crumbs patting gently and making sure that each chicken breasts is well coated with bread crumbs.

Heat the vegetable oil in a wide, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  (I use an electric skillet)  Fry the two chicken breasts until golden on both sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Remove to paper towels and drain.  Add mozzarella on each chicken breast and cover.

The sauce:

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a wide skillet.  Whack the garlic with the side of a knife and drop them in the oil.  Cook, shaking the pan until golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Carefully add the tomatoes in juice and season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly thickened, about 10 minutes. 

To serve:  Top cooked pasta with sauce and half a chicken breast.  Top with fresh basil (when in season) and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  (I use the left over chicken breasts later in the week in wraps or as a half Parmesan sandwich topped with sauce, delicious as left overs!)

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